Information Commissioner’s preliminary finding is that release of Ph.D. thesis examiners’ identity likely to cause “damage or distress” to Republic of China President Tsai Ing-wen

Screenshot (232)
Tsai Ing-wen and her 1984 London School of Economics thesis may be shielded by the Information Commissioner’s Office. (credits: Voice of America/Hwan Lin)

The Information Commissioner’s Office of the United Kingdom is poised to uphold the University of London’s refusal to name Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s 1984 Ph.D. thesis examiners. Lead Case Officer Cressida Woodall authored a preliminary assessment agreeing with the University of London.

The requested information is associated with an individual in a private/personal capacity. I am satisfied that the individual concerned (the student) would have the reasonable expectation that their personal data – that is; specific information about their thesis – who examined it and when – would not be disclosed to world at large in response to a FOI request.”

Woodall wrote, “I consider it likely that disclosing this information would cause that individual a degree of damage or distress.”

The tempest in a teapot over the thesis periodically boils over into the news media although has been a social media topic since last summer when Tsai belatedly filed her 1984 thesis with the London School of Economics Library, thirty-five years late. Briefly an issue in her recent reelection campaign, Tsai prefers to avoid talking about the controversial thesis entitled “Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions.”

The London School of Economics says the thesis examiners conducted Tsai’s “viva” on October 16, 1983, a Sunday. LSE cannot or will not identify the two thesis examiners that approved the thesis and directs all questions to the parent University of London.

The University of London, after a six-week internal review, concluded that the names of the thesis examiners was exempt from public disclosure because their names could be found in Tsai’s student records.

Meanwhile, a number of Taiwanese scholars have raised questions about the thesis and whether or not Tsai actually earned the degree bestowed upon her. Because LSE could not issue its own degrees, the University of London awarded a diploma on the recommendation of the two thesis examiners, at least that is how it was supposed to work. The Sunday viva and Tsai’s refusal to name the thesis examiners, along with the silence of both the London School of Economics and the University of London on the examiner identities keeps alive the ongoing question, was there really a thesis oral examination?

Woodall explained: “I note that the thesis in question was examined approximately 35 years ago. Any concern about this one, thesis is therefore historic at this point. Other than UL demonstrating that it is open and transparent, the specifics of your request do not have a wider societal legitimate interest. You have not presented evidence that there are long-standing and systemic irregularities with UL’s examination of theses.”

The preliminary assessment included reference to two other cases. In 2019, the University of Leicester refused to name the entire roster of outside examiners for an eight-year period and the refusal was upheld. In 2018, The Open University refused to name two Ph.D. thesis examiners but did offer a general description of their qualifications.

If the Information Commissioner adopts the preliminary assessment as a final decision the next step is a Tribunal appeal. The ICO has indicated the corona virus has altered the agency timeline and when a final decision will be issued is unknown.

Now, Woodall has entered a new question into the controversy. What kind of “damage or distress” could Tsai possibly suffer from disclosure of the identity of her examiners if they actually approved the thesis?

 

Author: richardsonreports

Author of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two Story.

12 thoughts on “Information Commissioner’s preliminary finding is that release of Ph.D. thesis examiners’ identity likely to cause “damage or distress” to Republic of China President Tsai Ing-wen”

  1. Mr. Richardson,

    Thanks for fighting justice for the people of Taiwan.

    Sue

    On Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 5:46 PM Richardson Reports wrote:

    > richardsonreports posted: ” The Information Commissioner’s Office of the > United Kingdom is poised to uphold the University of London’s refusal to > name Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s 1984 Ph.D. thesis > examiners. Lead Case Officer Cressida Woodall authored a pre” >

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for your effort, I really don’t understand why the revelation of viva examiners can cause anyone’s damage and distress? Shouldn’t it be public information in the first place. I will say it causes me damage and distress trying to figure out the logic here.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for fighting justice for the people of Taiwan. I am so suffering every day why No one helps us to defeat the superpower of the government. I just want to see the truth. But the government covers everything under the table. Fooling people is the worst thing that a government can do. Thank you again. You are a real hero. I will tell every friend about what you did for the people of Taiwan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not a wise to hide anything that should be revealed to the people. Being a president requires not a PHD degree but integrity. Hoping what LSE/UL decide won’t hurt its reputation but stick to scholar spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, apparently the ICO doesn’t realize that LSE’s reputation is on the line here. If they tries to cover up Tsai’s academic fraud, they will definitely cause more damage and distress to their own country. ~GOOD JOB Mr. RICHARDSON~

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A Fake ROC’s president has a fake Ph D. Is this really a surprise? This is all part of the plan by Chiang Jr. Before he died, he declared he had become a Taiwanese, and invited the Taiwanese political activists at the time known as Dong-Way (meaning non-KMT) to join the ROC election with monetary rewards. They were required to stay loyal to the ROC. The Taiwanese Party was named DPP. The Taiwanese politicians were conceivably schooled and trained by the KMT. All the news was reported in Taiwan’s newspapers. Since then, many former KMT members have joined the DPP.

    Like

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